Equality Ohio Endorses Issue 1

Issue 1 reclassifies certain drug offenses that disproportionately impact LGBTQ people.

Addiction is a serious and growing problem in Ohio, and the LGBTQ community is not immune. In fact, as a result of stigma, family rejection, chronic stress, and the other impacts of homophobia and transphobia, the LGBTQ community is more acutely impacted by substance abuse than the general population.

In addition, LGBTQ people are more likely to experience incarceration than the general population, and incarceration has been shown to be particularly ineffective in treating addiction.

Issue 1 rewards rehabilitation and streamlines the probation process.

Issue 1 ensures that rehabilitative efforts are rewarded. A prison inmate who engages with rehabilitative services, work, or educational programming receives a small sentence credit for each time they participate. This incentivizes treatment, returns people to their communities and families sooner, and better prepares people for reentering society.

Just two states in the country have a higher share of people in prison for violations of probation than Ohio. Issue 1 prohibits courts from sending an individual to prison for non-criminal probation violations, such as missing a meeting with a probation officer. Instead, the scale of punishment will more appropriately suit the violation while still holding people accountable and reinforcing law-abiding behavior.

Issue 1 is the right fit at the right time.

Ohio’s prisons are over capacity––they are at 132% capacity––and our state’s treatment of addiction is grossly insufficient. Issue 1 is a step––a first step––in the right direction. It prioritizes treatment, and it reduces the negative impact of incarceration on our communities.

Equality Ohio strongly supports Issue 1.